Remembering with pride Patsy O’Hara Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), Volunteer who died 21st May 1981 at 11.29pm aged twenty-three after 61 days on Hunger Strike

PATSY O’HARA

The Fourth Hunger Striker

“After we are gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say that you were with us in our struggle or were you conforming to the very system that drove us to our deaths?”

Patsy O’Hara was born 11 July, 1957 on Bishop Street in Derry City. His parents were Peggy (née McCluskey) and James. He had two older brothers; Seán Seamus and Tony, and a younger sister Elizabeth. His family lived above a small pub and grocery shop which his parents inherited from Peggy’s uncle. Her father James McCluskey had served in the IRA during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920’s.
Patsy was short and stout until the age of 12, when he suddenly shot up to six feet, two inches. He was a mischievous child who enjoyed playing jokes. He was always courageous. His father said of him: “No matter who got into trouble in the street outside, Patsy was the boy to go out and do all the fighting for him. He was the fighting man about the area and didn’t care how big they were. He would tackle them. I even saw him fighting men, and in no way could they stop him. He would keep at them. He was like a wee bull terrier!”
Patsy’s older brother Seán Seamus had joined the Derry Housing Action Committee around 1967, which involved attending protests. Their mother Peggy wasn’t pleased about this at first. She then started attending these along with him out of concern, then eventually out of support. There was a civil rights movement very much influenced by that led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the USA gaining momentum in the North of Ireland, and especially in Derry.
The people of Derry, who were mostly catholic, like the O’Haras, had suffered systematic discrimination in housing and employment although they were actually in the majority in Derry City. This was the result of gerrymandering, or creative drawing of districts to produce a controlled result. This was also because until 1969, voting in local council elections had requirements that denied votes to some while granting multiple votes to others. This invariably ran along sectarian lines and favoured Unionists. A setup which made the Catholic and nationalist people feel that the system was stacked against them. It also made many people in Derry see socialism as the solution to problems rooted in economic and political inequality.
Derry is one of the six counties which were partitioned from the rest of Ireland by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which ended The Irish War of Independence. It became part of the new state known as Northern Ireland along with counties Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The state of Northern Ireland was governed by the Parliament at Stormont, called a “Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people” by Sir James Craig, one of its founders. The rights of the large minority of catholics and nationalists who lived within the state were not a consideration. Many loyalists viewed the catholic community with suspicion, fear, and hatred. The catholics in the North of Ireland suffered discrimination in housing and employment. They also they suffered brutal repression by the notoriously sectarian police force, the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and the infamous B-Specials, police reservists who were well-armed, but not well disciplined.
In 1968, at the age of 11, Patsy was to witness this brutality first hand. Peggy, Sean Seamus, Tony and Patsy attended a peaceful march in Derry on 5 October, 1968 at the Waterside station. The peaceful march for Civil Rights for was viciously attacked by the RUC and B-Specials with batons and fire hoses causing over 30 injuries as they watched. That incident in particular is cited by many as the beginning of the conflict in the North of Ireland as television images were widely seen.
Patsy described what he saw: “The people were sandwiched in another street and with the Specials coming from both sides, swinging their truncheons at anything that moved. It was a terrifying experience and one which I shall always remember.”
The year of 1969 saw civil rights marchers attacked at Burntollet bridge outside Derry city, where a loyalist mob of 300 who attacked the marchers included 100 off-duty B-Specials. The peaceful marchers were beaten with pipes and cudgels with nails driven through them. The RUC did nothing to stop them while arresting peaceful protesters.

The summer of 1969 saw week-long sectarian riots in Derry, known as the Battle of the Bogside, which was provoked by loyalist parade marchers in mid-August. The O’Hara’s home, always open to their friends, was now open to volunteers who had come from all over Ireland to assist the people of Derry as they fought off incursion/invasion of their homes by the RUC.
The same week, the Falls Road catholic ghetto in Belfast was invaded by loyalist mobs from the neighbouring Shankill Road escorted in by the police. The B-Specials fired indiscriminately, killing innocent civilians, including a 9 year old boy asleep in bed. Since the police were seen as exacerbating the situation, rather than diffusing it, British troops were sent in to keep order throughout the North of Ireland.

Patsy was very aware of what was happening in his city and in his country from what he had seen and experienced. He developed a strong socialist, nationalist and republican ideology. His father James observed: “Every day he saw something different happening, people getting beaten up, raids and coffins coming out. This was his environment.” He joined Na Fianna Éireann in 1970, a Republican youth organisation. In early 1971, still only 13, he joined the Pádraig Pearse Sinn Féin Cumann in the Bogside area, selling Easter Lilies (a Republican symbol commemorating Ireland’s Patriot dead) and newspapers.
In August of 1971, Brian Faulkner, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, introduced Internment-imprisonment without trial. On the morning of 9 August, 342 men in the Catholic and nationalist community across the north of Ireland were arrested and held without charge or trial. This was part of Operation Demetrius carried out by the British Army. They worked often from outdated lists, which is why many of the men arrested had no current involvement. Many convictions were obtained by torture, thus many innocents were imprisoned for years. The policy would remain in place until 1975.
In October 1971, Patsy’s brother Seán Seamus was arrested and interned in Long Kesh. He would be interned there for several years. Shortly after Seán’s Seamus’ arrest, Patsy was shot and wounded in the leg by a British soldier after coming out of a friend’s house in Southway. The Army said it was crossfire. He was fourteen at the time. He spent several weeks in Altnaglevin hospital and several more weeks on crutches.
Because of his wound, Patsy did not attend the anti-internment/civil rights march of Sunday, 30 January, 1972 in Derry City. He went with his father to watch the march as it wound its way down from the Creggan. Patsy remembered: “I struggled across a banking but was unable to go any further. I watched the march go up into the Brandywell. I could see that it was massive. The rest of my friends went to meet it but I could only go back to my mother’s house and listen to it on the radio.” Ironically, as it turned out, a British bullet kept him out of harm’s way on that day.

The peaceful marchers were fired upon by British soldiers, killing 14 and wounding another 14 unarmed protesters, and became known as “Bloody Sunday”. The soldiers claimed they acted in self defence; although no soldiers were injured and none of the dead and wounded were armed. Many of the dead were shot in the back as they ran or were shot as they tended the wounded. It had a deep effect on Patsy as it did many young men across the country, but it was different for him. It literally hit close to home.
The inevitable result of Bloody Sunday was the escalation of the conflict. What had been a non-violent movement now became an armed struggle as innocent people were being murdered by the forces of the state. Patsy’s father said: “I knew he would get involved. It was in his nature. He hated bullies all his life, and he saw big bullies in uniform and he would tackle them as well”
There was certainly no shortage of bullies in uniform for him to fight. Shortly after Bloody Sunday, he joined the Republican Clubs. From that time, he was continually harassed, assaulted, arrested and interrogated. He describes being arrested by the British Army in the summer of 1974 with a friend on the Briemoor Road: We were thrown onto the floor and as they were bringing us to the arrest centre, we were given a beating with their batons and rifles. When we arrived and were getting out of the vehicles we were tripped and fell on our faces”.
In October 1974, he was taken to Ballykelly interrogation Center. He was interrogated for three days. His face was burned with cigarettes. He grew a beard to cover the scars. Then he was taken to be interned in Long Kesh. Patsy describes his arrival: “Long Kesh had been burned the week previously, and as we flew above the camp in a British army helicopter we could see the complete devastation. When we arrived, we were given two blankets and mattresses and put into one of the cages. For the next two months we were on a starvation diet, no facilities of any kind, and most men lying out open to the elements”. Upon his release in April 1975, he joined the INLA as did his brother Tony.
The IRSP (Irish Republican Socialist Party), and its paramilitary wing, the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) were formed in December 1974 by former members of the Official IRA who were opposed to that organisation’s ceasefire from May 1972. The founding leader of the IRSP/INLA (together known as the IRSM-Irish Republican Socialist Movement); was Seamus Costello, who advocated a combination of socialist politics on economic issues and traditional physical force Irish republicanism. Costello was a veteran of the IRA border campaign of the 50’s.
The largest and dominant Republican paramilitary organisation was the Provisional IRA.

The Provisionals had split from the Official IRA themselves in 1969. The Officials had become much more left-wing with a decidedly Marxist philosophy who prioritised uniting the workers over taking up arms in defence. Eventually the Officials renounced violence and became The Workers Party. The Provisional IRA was formed by those who advocated armed struggle as being necessary. The members of the rival organisations called each other nicknames based on their commemorative Easter Lilies, such as Patsy sold as a kid. Officials used adhesive, so were called “Stickies”, Provisionals used pins and so were called “Pinnies” or “Pinheads”.
The INLA had feuds with the Officials since its turbulent founding. There were also tensions with the “Provos” who didn’t want rivals for recruitment. Some Provisionals, like Tony had defected after that organisation’s extended ceasefire in 1975 to join the INLA, who shared the Marxist ideology of the Officials. The Officials, and later the INLA had a strong presence in Derry, where their socialist rhetoric struck a nerve with the young people who had seen so much economic injustice.
Patsy was free for only two months when he was arrested at an army border checkpoint on the Letterkenny Road in June 1975. He was driving his father’s car from Buncrana, Co. Donegal when a stick of gelignite was found. He swore it was not his. He was charged with possession of explosives. He was released after six months on remand amid suspicions that the explosives were planted, as Patsy had claimed.

Patsy was “on the run” or in hiding for much of the year 1976 for fear of arrest. One night his brother Seán Seamus had come home in the dark, and fell on the floor as he went to sit on the couch. He realised too late it was missing. Unknown to him, Patsy had taken the couch to his hideout and returned it in the morning before a puzzled Seán Seamus awoke to see it mysteriously reappear.
In September 1976, Patsy was arrested again and held once more on remand for four months for weapons possession. He was released as the charges were dropped before he came to trial. In Patsy’s case in particular, this can be seen as a tool of government harassment and imprisonment at will.
Also in 1976, Patsy’s brother Tony was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 5 years for having participated in an armed robbery. He always maintained his innocence. He was convicted on hearsay evidence by a “Diplock Court” with one judge and no jury. Tony’s experiences of imprisonment, brought about by a drastic change in government policy would later also directly affect Patsy.
On 1 March, 1976, new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Merlyn Rees announced that anyone convicted of a scheduled offence after March 1976 would be treated as an ordinary criminal and would have to wear a prison uniform, do prison work and serve their sentence in the H-blocks of the new Maze Prison, which replaced the Nissan hut Cages of Long Kesh. This coincided with the phasing out of Internment. The intent was to erase the distinction between political prisoners and ordinary criminals, despite the fact that they had set up a special court system for political offences.
This was part of a British Government policy of criminalisation. The aim was not only to break the will of the prisoners, but to label the republican movement itself as a criminal conspiracy, without popular support. The republican prisoners saw themselves as prisoners of war. As such, the command structure of the paramilitary organisations were preserved, morale made imprisonment more bearable and the prisoners were treated relatively decently. With the revocation of Special Category Status, that all changed.
On 14 September, 1976, Kieran Nugent became the first prisoner sentenced after the revocation of special status. When he arrived at The Maze, he was asked his size for a prison uniform, he refused to wear it, and told them they would have to nail it to his back. Since he was forbidden to wear any other clothing, Nugent went naked, wrapping himself in a blanket. Thus, the Blanket Protest was born, and by 1978, 300 Republican prisoners were refusing to wear prison uniforms, for which they were confined to their cells and lost the right to fifty percent remission of their sentences for good behaviour. Patsy’s brother Tony, arriving at Long Kesh not long after Nugent, immediately joined the protest and went “on the blanket”.
Patsy went to live down in Dublin for a time, but he seemed no less active, nor apparently was he any more popular with the authorities than in Derry. In 1977, he was elected to the Ard Comhairle (Executive Committee) of the IRSP. He also helped to publish The Starry Plough newspaper of the IRSP. He was an intelligent, literate and articulate socialist revolutionary. Within the organisation, he stressed discipline, regulation and dedication.
In June 1977, Patsy was arrested on charges of holding a Garda (Republic of Ireland police officer) at gunpoint. He was released on bail six weeks later. While out on bail, he served as commander of the guard of honour for the funeral for INLA leader Seamus Costello. Costello had been assassinated in Dublin on 6 October 1977, allegedly by the Official IRA. Over 5,000 attended his funeral. Patsy was acquitted once again of his charges in January, 1978.
On 10 May 1978 he was arrested on O’Connell St. in Dublin under section 30 of Offences against the State act. This allows a person suspected of such an offence in the Republic of Ireland to be held without warrant or being charged for 24 hours. He was released 18 hours later. He returned to Derry in January 1979. His homecoming was short-lived.
On 14 May 1979 in Derry, he ran into a patrol of the Royal Hampshire Regiment and was seen discarding an item in the bushes. It was found to be a Soviet-made F1 fragmentation grenade wrapped in a purple-patterned sock. A search of the O’Hara house found the matching sock in Patsy’s bedroom. He was convicted of possession of the hand grenade. His only conviction out of numerous arrests. On 15 January 1980, he was sentenced to 8 years. On Patsy’s arrival at Long Kesh, he immediately joined the protest and went “on the blanket” as did his brother Tony before him. He also likewise joined the No Wash Protest.
What was called “the No Wash Protest.” began in April, 1978. Since the withdrawal of political status in 1976, The animosity between the prisoners and the prison officials escalated. The prisoners endured brutal beatings for things like refusing to address prison officers as Sir and their refusal to cooperate in general with rules for criminal prisoners. The IRA leaders in prison requested of the IRA Army Council to assassinate prison officials, which they did, starting with Patrick Dillon in April of 1976.
Some prisoners were refusing to leave their cells to shower or use the toilet due to the beatings. They were being beaten when trying to empty their chamber pots. After a prisoner was badly beaten and sent to solitary confinement, the Blanketmen now refused to leave their cells, smearing their excrement on the walls. This was also because spiteful prison officers would empty the pots back in the cells.
On 27 October 1980, Brendan Hughes O.C. (Officer Commanding) of the IRA prisoners, Tommy McKearney, Raymond McCartney, Tom McFeeley, Sean McKenna, Leo Green, and INLA member John Nixon went on Hunger Strike simultaneously, called by Brendan Hughes. As Sean McKenna was in and out of a coma after 53 days, The Hunger Strike was called off on a decision taken by Brendan Hughes on a promise of concessions. At the beginning of this Hunger Strike, Patsy had become O.C. Of the INLA prisoners. He had placed himself fourth in the line of INLA prisoners to join the strike.
The Hunger Strike was Intended to secure the Five Demands, which were:
The right not to wear a prison uniform;
The right not to do prison work;
The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
Full restoration of remission lost through the protest.
When it had become obvious that the British government had no intention of granting the concessions it promised, a second Hunger Strike began on March 1, 1981 when Bobby Sands refused food. Unlike the previous Hunger Strike, where seven men started at the same time; Sands, who was O.C. of the IRA prisoners, thought it wiser to stagger them at intervals this time. This would also prolong the protest. Francis Hughes, the second in line, began his on March 16. Patsy decided to lead the Hunger Strike for the INLA prisoners. It was decided that he and IRA prisoner Raymond McCreesh would begin their fast on the same day, March 22.
Shortly before going on Hunger Strike, Patsy wrote “We stand for the freedom of the Irish nation so that future generations will enjoy the prosperity they rightly deserve, free from foreign interference, oppression and exploitation. The real criminals are the British imperialists who have thrived on the blood and sweat of generations of Irish men. They have maintained control of Ireland through force of arms and there is only one way to end it. I would rather die than rot in this concrete tomb for years to come.” He also wrote “After we are gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say that you were with us in our struggle or were you conforming to the very system that drove us to our deaths?”
His mother Peggy showed tremendous strength and courage in the face of her grief and torment at watching her son die. She had said “There is no use me sitting back in the wings and letting someone else’s son go. Someone’s sons have to go on it and I just happen to be the mother of that son.”
Then on 5 May, Bobby Sands died, then Francis Hughes on 12 May. Peggy had been hopeful because Elizabeth, Patsy’s sister had been to Dublin to see Taoiseach (Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland) Charles Haughey, who had assured here that no more Hunger Strikers would be allowed to die. But Patsy and Ray McCreesh were in a bad way.
As Peggy left from visiting Patsy, she put her arms around him and said: “I don’t care about Ireland or the world, but I’m going to save you.” She left, but was called back after Patsy had lost consciousness. Though conflicted, she had decided to honour his wishes to continue when he uttered his last words: “I’m sorry Mammy, we didn’t win. Let the fight go on.”
Patsy O’Hara died 21 May 1981 at 11:29pm. Raymond McCreesh had died a few hours earlier, both after 61 days on Hunger Strike. Patsy was aged twenty-three.

With many thanks to: Kevin Rooney – Irelands Struggle 1969 – The Present Day.

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RAYMOND McCREESH
The Third Hunger Striker:

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JOE McDONNELL
The Fifth Hunger Striker:

Please Write To Irish Republican Political Prisoners.

This list is updated on a regular basis.

List of Republican prisoners that are looked after by Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA)

Portlaoise Gaol

E3 & E4, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Dublin: Tallaght
Michael Finlay
Dean Byrne
Edward McGrath

Clondalkin

Patrick Brennan

Donard

John Troy

Bluebell

Sean Connolly

Ballymun

Stephen Hendrick

East Wall

Pierce Moran

Rush Co Dublin

John McGrail

Killester

Donal O’Coisdealbha

Goatstown

Connor Hughes

Ballybrack

Darren Fox

Louth:

Owen McCann
Conan Murphy

Carlow:

James Smithers

Cork:

Tony Carroll
Brian Walsh
Joe Walsh
Sean Walsh
Mick Gilmartin
Martin McHale

Derry:

Kevin Devlan

Tyrone:

Damien (DD) McLaughlin

Maghaberry
Roe 4, Maghaberry Prison, Old Road Ballinderry Upper, Lisburn BT28 2PT

Armagh:

Dee Duffy
Shea Reynolds
Ciaran Magee
Brendan McConville
Sean McVeigh
Luke O’ Neill (held on a non-political wing on protest)
John Paul Wotton

Belfast:

Anto Davidson
Christie Robinson

Derry:

Barry Concannon
Jason Ceulmans
Damien Harkin
Neil Hegarty
Nathan Hastings
Seamus McLaughlin

Fermanagh:

Barry Petticrew (Held on a non – political wing in isolation)

Meath:

Darren Poleon
Brian Walsh

Tyrone:

Gavin Coyle
Martin McGilloway (CSU)

Magilligan
Point Rd, Limavady BT49 0LR

Belfast:

Brian Millar

————————————————————————————————

List of Republican prisoners that are looked after by Cogús prisoner support group

Roe House MAGHABERRY

Old Road Ballinderry Upper,
Lisburn,
County Antrim,
BT28 2PT

Conor Hughes

Gerard Flanagan

Carl Reilly

Tony Taylorq

Ta Mc Williams

Ciaran Mc Laughlin

Paddy O’ Neill (teach na failte)

Cogús Prisoners E2, Portlaoise Co Laois:

Charles Anthony Deery

Garret Mulley

Seamus McGrane

Ryan Glennon

With many thanks to: Stephen Codd @ Revolution Ireland.

 

Just a question? Why?

How many people know why Donegall Pass has such a curious name? For whom was St. Anne’s Church named? It was not for Queen Anne. There were five Annes and five Arthurs in the Marquis of Donegall’s family and that explains why these names were so frequently used in Belfast. How many know why there is a King John’s Road in Holywood, and a King William’s Road on the Holywood Hill? Why is there a “Joy” Street in that particularly joyless neighbourhood, or a Fountain Street where no water is now seen?

Why should a road high and dry above the city be called The Falls? We shall find why these things are so in Belfast, and then see what is interesting in the places near us.

The first idea which suggested itself was to take the City Hall as a starting point, and in imagination take a walk along each road leading from it out to the suburbs. This is impossible, for in old times the place where the City Hall stands was surrounded with extensive fields and meadows for grazing, where we now have streets and houses.

We cannot go to the Lisburn Road or the Shore Road when there was no road there, so we must give up that plan and take the places as we can make the best out of them.

Belfast has no very ancient history as we know it in Ireland. Derry, Armagh, Newry, Carrickfergus and Bangor are richer in memories of the olden times, and these neighbouring places are filled with tales of thrilling interest.

Some one has truly said “Happy are the people who have no history,” and we know the best times are the years when nothing particular happens. So our fair city has been spared the bloodshed, the cruelties, and the destructions that were so painfully familiar to some more ancient cities.

It is mentioned in the “Four Masters”—a wonderful old book,—that there was a king’s residence about ten miles from Belfast and a great fort called Rathmore about the year 680. A little while before that time, Bel-Feirste was the scene of a battle which took place on the banks of the Lagan. St. Patrick was very near us when he was in County Down, but we are not told if he ever really came to Belfast.

The next mention of the town comes with the famous John De Courci, who arrived with a small army in the year 1177. He built a great many castles and churches, and lived in regal state in Downpatrick. He is said to have built the first castle in Belfast and a church where the old graveyard of Shankill is now. It was called the “White Church,” and the “Chapel of the Ford ” where St. George’s Church now stands was a minor building.

De Courci was made the first Earl of Ulster, and he built twenty strong fortalices round Strangford Lough, and great castles and churches at Ardglass and Greencastle, Dundrum, Antrim, and Grey Abbey all owe something to his masterful guiding hand. King John next came in 1210. He arrived at Jordan’s Castle in Ardglass on the 12th of July. He visited Dundrum, Downpatrick, and Carrickfergus and crossed the Lough to Holywood on the 29th of July, where the road he passed along is still known by his name. The O’Neills were for one thousand years great warriors in Ulster, and the story of that powerful family would fill volumes. One branch of the clan was intimately connected with Belfast, Clannaboy Clan-Aod-Buide—children of yellow Hugh O’Neill.

The principal stronghold was the Grey Castle, at Castlereagh, which was in existence long before the name of Belfast was on any document, and was once called “The Eagle’s Nest” from its situation and the powerful influence of Conn O’Neill. The coronation stone chair of the O’Neills is now in the Museum in College Square. It was found among the ruins of the Old Castle, and was brought to Belfast in the year 1755, but the chair of state had many adventures. It was built into the wall of the Butter Market. No doubt many a farmer’s wife found it a resting place. Afterwards for some unknown reason it was taken to Sligo. Then it was brought back, and has found a home in the Belfast Museum. King Conn O’Neill has left his name at Connswater and Connsbridge. Many a story is told of him, and his end was very sad. He was imprisoned in Carrickfergus, but he managed to escape to Scotland. In order to save his life he was obliged to transfer his property to Sir James Hamilton and Sir Moses Hill, for he was the owner of 244 townlands. In the year 1606, he gave seven townlands to Sir Hugh Montgomery and seven to Sir Fulke Conway. His vast estates were taken from him, and he died in great poverty in a small house at Ballymenoch near Holywood. All the land as far as the eye could see had once belonged to him, and, at the end of life, he could claim only a grave in the old Church that once stood at Ballymachan.

http://www.libraryireland.com/Belfast-History/Early-History-Belfast.php

http://ancientclanoneill.com/

With many thanks to: Ulster Clans of Ireland.

Standing room only as accused appear

THREE of the most high-profile republicans in the North of Ireland appearing in court together was always going to attract a huge amount of attention and it was standing room only in court 10 at Belfast’s Laganside complex on Tuesday.

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Co Armagh man Colin Duffy was joined in the dock by Harry Fitzsimmons, only recently released from Maghaberry Gaol after serving a sentence for abducting Bobby Tohill in 2004, along with Alec McCrory, a long-serving IRA prisoner and ‘blanket man’. The trio face a series of charges including involvement in a dissident Republican gun attack on police vehicles in North Belfast earlier this month. A Kalashnikov-style weapon was recovered during a follow-up search of the Ardoyne area following the shooting on December 5. The public gallery was packed to capacity with family members and supporters. Several loyalists charged in connection with July 12 violence appeared nervous as charges were put to them with such a large republican audience looking on. Recognisable faces among the supporters were Coalisland man Kevin Barry Murphy, North Belfast republican Brendan Conway and independent councillor Angela Nelson. Dressed casually when brought up from the court’s holding cells to the dock, the three accused remained impassive throughout the short hearing. They refused to stand while charges were read out and refused to answer when they were put to them. A detective said he could connect the accused to the offences. The men’s solicitors said they would not be applying for bail at this time. The hearing lasted less than five minutes, and as the three were taken back into custody supporters in the public gallery clapped and cheered. Magistrate Fiona Bagnall ordered the court be cleared. There was a heavy police presence outside the courthouse as the  three were taken from the court to Maghaberry Gaol in a blacked-out prison van.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News

Colin Duffy

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Arguably the most recognisable face of anti-agreement republicanism, the Co Armagh man was acquitted in January 2012 of the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene army base in Co Antrim in 2009, having served a lengthy period on remand. In 1993 he was convicted of the PIRA murder of UDA man John Lyness but was acquitted on appeal. The 47-year-old was also detained followng the IRA murders of constable David Johnson and John Graham in Lurgan in June 1997, shortly before the second IRA ceasefire but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. In November last year he was arrested by detectives investigating the murder of prison officer David Black but was released without charge. His most recent arrest was in May of this year when he was qustioned about dissident republican activity before being released unconditionally. Once the most senior member of Shame Fein in the Lurgan area the hard line republican left the party prior to the decision to endorse policing. He was briefly a member of eirigi, but left the party shortly before his arrest for the Massereene attack.

Alec McCrory

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The West Belfast man served two periods of imprisonment for the Provisional IRA. He was one of the youngest prisoners to join the blanket protest after being jailed in 1978 at the age of 17. He was imprisoned for a second time in the 1980s and served 14 years for possession of a bomb. In 2011 he was the first person in the North of Ireland to make an offcial complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal over what he claimed were repeated attempts by MI5 to recruit him as an agent. More recently he has acted as a spokesman for republican prisoners held in Maghaberry.

Harry Fitzsimmons

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HE was released from prison in May of this year after serving a jail term for the abduction of dissident Bobby Tohill in 2004 from a Belfast city centre bar. Tohill was rescued by police who rammed the van he was being carried in, he later refused to give evidence against his abductors. The event nearly jeopardized the Peace Process as the Provos were on ceasefire at the time. Fitzsimmons and his co accused went on the run in 2006 while awaiting sentencing, he was extradited to the North after being arrested in Dundalk in November 2009. While in Maghaberry he spent most of his sentence on protest against the prison regime. He was arrested last month and questioned about the murder of drug dealer Kevin Kearney but was released without charge. Since being released he had been living in North Belfast, however, after receiving death threats his address was given on Tuesday as of ‘no fixed abode’.

Thwarted mortar attack ‘targeted security forces’ !!!

Court told of recon against police and prison officers

A MORTAR-BOMB attack was being planned on a security force vehicle in Co Armagh, the High Court heard yesterday.

DENIED BAIL: Damien Duffy

Prosecutors said reconnaissance was used against police and prison staff, including a governer, over a two-year period. Suspects drove past one target’s home more than 50 times in eight days, a judge was told. Details emerged as one of three men accused of a plot to bomb and killwas refused bal. Damien Duffy (43), of Campbell Walk in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to cause an explosion and collecting iformation likely to be used to terrorists. He was arrested in May last year after a nine-month police iinvestigation involving surveillance, tracking and covert recordings. The alleged offences, stretching back to November 2009, relate to police and prison officers ‘ movements in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas, their addresses and routes taken to and from work. A prosecution barrister said audio recordings showed the Kilmore Road and Cottage Road junction in Lurgan was to be used for a mortar-bomb attack on security forces. The location is on a route regularly used by police and prison staff, the court heard. Alleged discussions between the suspects including references to lines of sight, getting angles right and breaking cover. The barrister said attack planning was carried out on two identified prison officers as they came and went to Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.

Lord Justice Coghlin was told that the governor’s home in a rural setting  was passed several times for no apparent legitimate reason. The barrister said two of the accused scouted one officer’s home on 54 occasions – including 21 times in a 90-minute period. According to police, anti surveillance techniques and U-turns were performed. Discussions about the areas for carrying out an attack, escape routes and “giving it 20 seconds to get down there” were recorded, the court heard. It was accepted that forensic analysis of the audio recordings was unable to attribute any of the remarks to Duffy. However, the court was told independent witnesses said he had been in the car used during the alleged offences. Mark Mulholland QC, defending, said Duffy should be released due to the “paucity” of evidence and delays in processing the case. “The starting point is what can be aattributed to this accused and at no time is there any express reference to targeting, weaponry or anything of that nature,” he said. “What appears to be a case grounded principally on what can be inferred or speculated was at hand does not pass muster. “In the period of time the accused was under surveillance, whatever was being suggested by the prosecution absolutely nothing happened.” Lord Justice Coghlin said an explanation would eventually have to be given. Separating terrorist offences from other crimes, he said: “It’s nothing whatever to do with the political beliefs of those charged. “It’s to do with a very small group of people who are not prepared to take part in a democracy but wish to achieve what they beleive to be some firm of political end by killing and injuring people. “In cases of terrorism the offence is driven by a warped political ideology. Therefore there is a significantly higher risk of further offences.”

With many thanks to : The Irish News.

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TRIBUTES TO MOTHER OF THREE SON’S MASSACRED BY LOYALISTS

‘ The one thing she insisted on was that nobody would try to take revenge for the loss of her sons – Eugene Reavey

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A SOUTH Armagh woman whose three sons were shot dead by loyalists during the Troubles has been described as an “inspiration” after she passed away eearlier this week. Sadie Reavey died peacefully in Daisy Hill hospital overnight on Monday surrounded by members of her family.

Three of Mrs Reavey’s sons, John (24),  Brian (22) and Anthony (17), died after being shot by loyalists during an ambush on their White cross home in 1976. The murders were committed by the notorious loyalist the Glenanne Gang, which included members of the UVF, UDR and RUC. No-one has ever been charged in connection with the murders. Mrs Reavey suffered more heartache when her husband Jimmy died prematurely in 1981. There was yet more tragedy for the south Armagh woman in 1994 when her daughter Una McKenna died after losing a battle with cancer aged just 31. Mrs Reavey’s son Eugene last night said his mother always carried her grief with dignity. “She was a very strong person and a lot of people got a lot of inspiration from her over the years,” he said. “The one thing she insisted on was that nobody would try to take revenge for the loss of her sons.” Mr Reavey described his mother as a “descent woman” who was “well thought of” by neighbours and friends.

“Her life was a life well lived. She had a very strong faith and she would have prayed all day and all night,” he said. “That’s what got her through all those bad times.”She went to help other people to deal with her own ccommunity.” Former deputy first minister Seamus Mall on knew Mrs Reavey for many years. “She was a remarkably fine woman who withstood the agony of the murder of her three sons,” he said. “She always showed dignity and herself and her husband Jimmy were an example to the entire community in the way in which they dealt with the murder of their three sons.” Mr MMall on said Mrs Reavey was an example to others. “She was a tolerant woman and a person in the community that people admired respected and loved.” Earlier this year Mrs Reavey was visited in her home by shadow secretary of state Vernon Croaker. Mr Croaker also meet 90-year-old Mary O’Hare, whose daughter MA Ella was shot dead by British soldiers near Whitecross as she made her way to church in 1976. After the meeting Mr Croaker said both woman had handled their “grief with great dignity and compassion”. Requiem Mass for Mrs Reavey will be celebrated at St Brigids‘s Church, Whitecross, at 11am tommorow.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

REPATRIATE MICHAEL CAMPBELL

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Cumann Sean MacEachaidh

The Repatriate Michael Campbell Campaign.

1st July 2013.

Organised and mobilized. (Ard Mhacha Abú)

Armagh’s emphatic 2-21 – 0-02 victory over Wicklow at the Counties Athletic Grounds yesterday was not the only locally cultivated success in the city to be lauded.

Up to 30 members of The Repatriate Michael Campbell Campaign exploited the influx of GAA supporters and media personnel in to Armagh and staged a picket and information point highlighting the denials of Michael Campbell’s human rights, rights as an Irish Citizen and his right to come home and to serve his sentence on Irish Soil.

Over 3000 leaflets were distributed to an extremely responsive crowd and the campaign group were inundated with requests from both sets of supporters and neutrals, for further information and contact points for the future.

Local MLA’s Councillors and MP’s attending the game accepted leaflets from the group who covered all entry points to the stadium. All those who we interacted with, were respectful and courteous and when implored to consider the campaign most, if not all, committed to do so.

Today saw cohesion succeed with activists from all over county Armagh connecting and it is these efforts that will prove most successful in the weeks to come. We cannot thank all of those who helped out today enough.

It must be remembered, not diminishing Armagh’s victory, that this was a Qualifier and not billed as a Major Championship game, however the response was magnificent and we can now expect even greater things to follow on our next outing, so join in and become a part of this campaign as it rolls out.

The official campaign leaflet text is available to copy and paste on this page, or the actual leaflet and generic posters are available and can be printed from here.

This is a good cause and it will result in a victory for Human Rights. Share in that victory. Bring Michael Campbell Home!! (12 photos)